McNab: Nine Stripes Hopeful For More Loan Moves, But Making No Promises
When York9 FC President Angus McNab arrived to the Canadian Premier League club, he was praised for making several smart-looking international signings and reinvigorating a club in dire need of improved market awareness and, more controversially, a potential rebrand of the club itself.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced the CPL side to make a lot of sharp pivots just before the modified 2020 Canadian Premier League season, which resulted in the release of promising players like Ugarriza and Jaco, and the inability for internationals like MLS trialist Brian Lopez and Jamaican forward Nicholas Hamilton to enter the country. This forced McNab to quickly bring in several teenage replacements, along with the last-gasp arrivals of Alvaro Rivero and former Forge man Jace Kotsopoulos.
When The Island Games came and went, McNab wasted little time in preparing for the following season. However, the impact of the ongoing pandemic has brought additional difficulty for that, too: there’s an air of uncertainty on what the sporting world will look like come 2021, and fluctuant transfer window times from shifting seasons around the globe have made offseason moves more difficult.
Prior to the European transfer window closing, McNab was able to secure two offseason loan moves for members of his roster: Jamaican forward Nicholas Hamilton is in Scotland with Dundee FC, and Canadian midfielder Michael Petrasso is set for a trip to England to play for Barnet.
The sentiment around the league has been that there were more players than opportunities for CPLers during the long Canadian offseason, with the COVID-19 pandemic piling on significant complications regarding already-complex offseason roster moves.
It’s a really strange time right now for many reasons but in football terms, it’s been different as nobody has worked with this calendar. The shifting transfer windows have meant loans around Europe haven’t happened or progressed at the usual cadence so that knocks on to us as well.Angus McNab
The analytics-minded Nine Stripes leader revealed that the club is still looking into additional loans and training stints, but made note of some significant road blocks to the process: while player passports and immigration status can preclude many offseason exports, the COVID-19 pandemic also forces loan-unfriendly quarantine periods and foreign club demands for longer loan spells.
As a result of the latter issue, both Hamilton and Petrasso will miss the start of the 2021 season if it begins in April. Their loans both run until June.
Beyond that, players need to want to be in their destination, too. To that end, McNab revealed that the club had lined up additional offseason moves for members of its roster, but some players rejected the opportunity. In other cases, the club didn’t have an agreement regarding the player re-signing, which obviously precludes an offseason loan move with the expectation that those players would return to York9 FC.
I certainly do hope we have more guys going on loan or training stints with other teams, but it is a very complex puzzle right now and much like anything in 2020 there are no certainties.Angus McNab
In following up to a question regarding the possibility of a friendly against Forge FC ahead of the rival side’s Concacaf League travels, McNab said there was no news there: the club’s priority is to sort out additional roster moves before turning its focus elsewhere.
In terms of player retention, there’s been talk about some high profile outbound moves in the club’s midfield contingent. With the current contract status of the likes of Joseph Di Chiara, Ryan Telfer, Kyle Porter, and Chris Mannella (who was on a one year contract) all unknown, fans will be hopeful for some clarity in the near future.
According to club sources, there will indeed be some movement there, though the outbound movement isn’t just limited to the middle third.
As things stand, we’ve learned that Matthew Arnone will be one of the outbound players, with sources also claiming that Gasparotto may also depart purely based on a breakdown in salary negotiations. York9 FC is also expected to bring in a more experienced backup goalkeeper, though the more significant changes are evidently coming to outfield positions.
When the club missed the Island Games Group Stage by a single spot in the league table, McNab penned an apologetic letter to fans and said that changes would be made to ensure the continued growth of the side. The club has since made the first brand new signing of the 2021 Canadian Premier League season by announcing 21-year-old German forward Julian Ulbricht, a product of the FC Saint Pauli Academy. He will spend the CPL offseason with FC Phonix Lubeck in the German fourth division, where he just scored a goal last week:
A German press release indicated that York9 FC could enter a partnership with the German side which may see some members of the Nine Stripes squad play with Lubeck for the offseason, with McNab now confirming that the York Region side would welcome further opportunity to work with the German team.
As things stand, the roster moves set to come in the near future are less likely to be loans and more likely to be straight forward inbound and outbound transfers. With many CPL contracts set to expire within the next month, there’ll be plenty of intra-league movement due to come on a league-wide scale. For Nine Stripes fans, this is likely to be the beginning of a wild ride for the offseason.